Work: Merry Mount Suite
IV. Prelude to Act II and Maypole Dances
About This Work
That he lived in the twentieth century not withstanding, Howard Hanson was a Romantic of the purest sort. He stated that music should be "a manifestation of the emotions," and his works glow from within with passion. His most ambitious work
was his opera, Merry Mount. Based upon a Nathaniel Hawthorne short story, it is a tale of tragic love set in Puritan New England in which a pastor becomes obsessed with a visiting woman and subsequently runs amok. The opera was first performed in 1934 to thunderous success at no less venue than the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The suite, crafted by Hanson four years later, is a set of four short pieces, all brilliantly evocative and characteristically intense. The opera's overture, a brief "Children's Dance," a mournful "Love Duet," and finally a rousing Prelude to Act II and "Maypole Dances" comprise the 16-minute suite.
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